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Woman strangled to death by oven after pyjama top gets tangled in door

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A woman tragically died after she was strangled to death by an oven when her top became tangled in an accident at home.

Jackie Michelle Cottrill, 52, was found dead by her nephew on January 24 at her home in Smalley Way.

Jack Brocklebank, who was staying with his aunt at the time, came downstairs to find her strangled with her clothing caught in the oven.

An inquest at Preston Coroner's Court on Wednesday heard coroner Dr James Adeley say that he had “never come across such an unusual case”, LancsLive reports.

Statements read out by Dr Adeley from Miss Cottrill's loved ones described her as a "happy and sociable person" who worked hard in her job.

Mr Brocklebank said he had gone downstairs in the early hours on the Sunday when his aunt had made him a bacon sandwich.

"He went to bed, then he woke at 1pm and left his room at 2pm," Dr Adeley said.

He went into the kitchen and found her collapsed by the oven door.

Miss Cottrill, who grew up on the Audley Estate, had suffered a stroke six years prior but had no issues with balance as a result, the inquest heard.

A full post mortem examination found the cause of death to be compression of Miss Cottrill's neck caused by her pyjama top being tangled in the oven door. The coroner recorded the cause of death as asphyxiation, making it clear that the passing was a tragic accident.

"She died at her home address due to the entanglement of her clothing with an oven door handle," Dr Adeley said.

"It is very unusual that someone who was fit and well managed to suspend themselves accidentally from the oven door.

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"What appears to have happened is that for some reason she has fallen and caught her pyjama top on the lower handle of the oven door.

"In my 20 years of doing this I have never come across this happening."

Her brother Adrian Macfarlane attended the inquest alongside her two daughters Sarah Ramsdale and Toni Cottrill.

"Only she knows how it happened," Miss Ramsdale said.

"We’ll never know," Mr Macfarlane added.

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The inquest heard how she was a well-loved figure in Blackburn, where she became known as "everyone's agony aunt" having worked at several pubs including the Queens Park Club, the Clifton and the Railway Club.

She had been with her partner Kev for around a decade.

"She knew everything about everyone and was never shy with a bit of gossip," her daughters told LancsLive.

"Her wonderful sense of humour endeared her to everyone she came into contact with and it is a great testament to her nature that she formed so many long-lasting relationships over the years.

"There wasn’t a pub in Blackburn where she hadn’t pulled a pint, she even worked alongside her daughters in the Last Orders pub.

"Blackburn has lost a true character and the town, pubs and games nights will never be the same without her."

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